Court blocks Rangwe market construction - Beaking Kenya News

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Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Court blocks Rangwe market construction

Homa Bay activists Walter Opiyo and Oloo Gor after they secured a court order stopping the construction of stalls at Rangwe market on August 4, 2020

A Homa Bay court has suspended the construction of a market in Rangwe town over alleged failure by the contractor to get a Nema approval.

The court has asked the contractor Pacific General Works Limited to get clearance from the National Environment Management Authority.  

Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga is constructing the market through the county's National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) to protect traders from the harsh weather conditions.

But on Tuesday, three Homa Bay lobby groups obtained a restraining order from resident magistrate Ruth Maloba. 

Activists Michael Kojo (Asego Public Litigation Forum), Evance Oloo (Interface Community Help Desk) and Walter Opiyo (Homa Bay Bunge La Wenye Nchi) accused the contractor of disregarding the law in the construction. 

“It is hereby ordered that pending hearing and determination of the said application, this court issues an order restraining the third respondent either by itself, agents, servants or employees from continuing with construction of the Rangwe Market,” Maloba ruled.

The magistrate set the hearing date for August 8.

In their petition, the activists accused the contractor of failure to secure an environmental impact assessment report from Nema.

“The contractor also failed to get approval from National Construction Authority, the County Public Works, the County Quality Surveyor and other institutions,” Kojo said.  

In their joint statement, they argued that the construction company did not conduct public participation before the project began.

Kojo told the court that Nema had already stopped the project as it had not approved it. 

“The project commenced without approval from Nema. How will waste from the market be disposed? What is the structural integrity of the market? It could be a disaster in waiting,” he said.

In the petition, Nema county director Josiah Nyandoro and Rangwe subcounty administrator Amadi Simba wrote letters to the company to stop the construction.

“Nema gave a restoration order while the county government accused NGAAF of failure to seek its approval for using land owned by the devolved unit,” Oloo said.

Opiyo asked the court to stop NGAAF from making any payments to contractor until all due procedures for construction are followed.

“Traders risk their lives if the project continues without getting approval from the government agencies,” Opiyo said.

The project is among others that Wanga is implementing to improve the business environment at different markets.

Other completed markets include Homa Bay Pier, Magunga (Suba South) and Kodiera (Ndhiwa ). Each market is constructed at a cost between Sh3.2million and Sh3.5million.

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